KAYENTA – From welding to veterinary science, eight high schools in the Navajo Nation competed in the 18th Annual Skills Native on Feb. 21 for the top spot in 18 career fields.

The Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education, as known as “N.A.T.I.V.E.,” is part of a joint technological education district with eight high schools: Chinle, Monument Valley, Window Rock, Red Mesa, Ganado, Piñon, Tuba City and Sanders.

Each school offers career technical education classes through N.A.T.I.V.E. Classes such as veterinary science, welding, culinary arts, photography, and cosmetology.The annual Skills Native competition took place at Monument Valley High School and the N.A.T.I.V.E. building off campus.

Competitions

Veterinary science, job interviews, and tool identification competitions took place in MVHS’ agri-science center.

BMAS (business startup/entrepreneurship), carpentry, customer service, prepared speech, drafting, extemporaneous speaking, job skills demonstration, masonry, home health aide, and welding competitions took place on the east side of MVHS.

‘For future employment’: 19th Annual N.A.T.I.V.E. Skills spotlights Navajo Nation’s top students

Courtesy | Western States Regional Council of Carpenters
The construction and design competition is underway during the 18th Annual Skills Native at Monument Valley High in Kayenta on Feb. 21.

The culinary, photography, and advertising design competitions took place at the N.A.T.I.V.E. building. The automotive competition took place in the Kayenta Unified School District Bus Yard.

N.A.T.I.V.E. Superintendent Ron Tsosie said, “This is similar to a sporting event where the schools and students come in and compete in contests like welding–– who is the best welder or construction, who is the best construction worker, it gets the high school kids competitive.”

There were around 300 students who competed in 18 categories, according to Tsosie. Three winners were awarded at the end of the competitions.

“The importance of this event is preparing the students for their jobs … because, for our competitions, students create resumes,” Tsosie explained. “They do job interviews. It’s a part of the contest. They get scored on their attire, they get judged, and it’s just preparing these students for future employment.”

After the competitions, students get certifications after finishing their respective programs. And they can add that to their resume, making them qualified for jobs they go after.

The winners

Advertising design
First place – Kylee Peshlakai, Window Rock High School.
Second place – Vinz Josh Limbaga, Window Rock High School.
Third place – Genene Duncan, N.A.T.I.V.E. central campus.

Automotive
First place – Tyrell Begay, Chinle High School.
Second place – Logan Shorty, Tuba City High School.
Third place – Ivan Badoni, Piñon High School.

Carpentry
First place – Jermal Slinkey, Ganado High School.
Second place – Deshaun Tsosie, Piñon High School.
Third place – Dante Laughlin, Ganado High School.

Customer service
First place – Emery Lee Jr., Chinle High School.
Second place – Bobbi Alcott, Ganado High School.
Third place – Christopher Honyumtewa, Chinle High School.

Culinary: cake design
First place – Kambri Wauneka, Ganado High School.
Second place – Jaralena Robertson, Chinle High School.
Third place – Laila Blackrock, N.A.T.I.V.E. central campus.

Culinary: baking and pastry
First place – Justin Yazzie, N.A.T.I.V.E. central campus.
Second place – Joseph Rodriquez, N.A.T.I.V.E. central campus.
Third place – Andrea Denny, Piñon High School.

Architectural drafting board
First place – Jayden Smith, Ganado High School.
Second place – Adriana Bochinclonny, Ganado High School.

Architectural design
First place – Daijaun Preston, Ganado High School.

Business management plan
(Team) first place – Kody Yellowhair and Nataani Jacob, Window Rock High School.
Second place – Maria Brown, Chinle High School.
Third place – Jasmine Lopez and Demeikah Bitsinnie, Tuba City High School.

Business management role-play
(Team) first place – Miyah Oliver and Tazbah Spruhan, Window Rock High School.
Second place – Eliyanah Begay and Boaz Harvey, Window Rock High School. Third place – Arianna Black and Leighton Williams, Monument Valley High School.

Culinary: cupcake design
First place – Natalie Stevens, Chinle High School.
Second place – Kirilena Begien, Piñon High School.
Third place – Emiko Lee, Ganado High School.

Culinary: wedding cake display
First place – Roquida Todacheene, N.A.T.I.V.E. central campus.
Second place – Katelynn Pelt, Piñon High School.
Third place – Elana Begay, Ganado High School.

Early childhood education
First place – Miara Bilagody, Tuba City High School.
Second place – Mahto-Ska American-Horse, Tuba City High School.
Third place – Shaylynn McCloskey, Tuba City High School.

Home health aide
First place – Breanna Vasquez, Ganado High School.
Second place – Dosha Williams, Ganado High School.
Third place – AvaRose Neito-Begaye, Chinle High School.

Job skills demonstration
First place – Daunte Henry, Window Rock High School.
Second place – Adeezhi Morris, Window Rock High School.
Third place – Aiden Kinlichee, Chinle High School.

Photography
First place – Tiara Watchman, Ganado High School.
Second place – Jace Manus, Window Rock High School.
Third place – Aiden Kinlichee, Chinle High School.

Veterinary science
(Team) First place – Ariana Begay, Natha Merrit, Tanner McBride, and Travis McBride, Monument Valley High School (Kayenta).
Second place – Tashina Nez-Tsosie, Naomi Tsosie, Oleshia Tsosie and Teaire John, Ganado High School.
Third place – Arianna Tachine, Clintiyiah Tsosie, Wyatt Adrian, and Savannah Etsitty, Piñon High School.

Veterinary science
(Individual) First place – Tanner McBride.
Second place – Arianna Begay.
Third place – Savannah Etsitty.

Welding fabrication
(Team) First place – Arian Begay, Devyn John and, Preston Yazzie, Red Mesa High School.
Second place – Calvin Begay, Brandon Collins and Kai Preston, Window Rock High School.
Third place – Samuel Begay, Bryant Smith and Kiyai White, Ganado High School.

Job interview
First place – Kayla Yazzie, Red Mesa High School.
Second place – Teegan Wheeler Red Mesa High School.
Third place – Kristanya Hot, Red Mesa High School.

Masonry
First place – Tyren Baha, Sanders Valley High School.
Second place – Tyethen Barney, Sanders Valley High School.
Third place – Anthony Ayze, Chinle High School.

Prepared speech
First place – Leilani Shephard and Chanti Kaamasee.
Welding sculpture
First place – Analisa Yazzie, Tuba City High School.

Tool Identification
First place – Jayanna White, Ganado High School.
Second place – Zadrian Begay, Sanders Valley High School.
Third place – Keshawn Michem, Monument Valley High School.

Welding
(Individual) First place – Aden Nakai, Red Mesa High School.
Second place – Ashkii Nez, Piñon High School
Third place – Wyatt James, Ganado High School.
Vet science team winners Ariana Begay, Natha Merrit, Tanner McBride, and Travis McBride said, as a team, they won first place in Kayenta and are now preparing for the state competition, for which they will be practicing and working hard.

Overall fun

Ariana Begay, Natha Merrit, Tanner McBride, and Travis McBride say math was the hardest, but overall, they had fun the entire day.

“I love working with animals. I love helping them get better when they’re sick. Teamwork makes the dream work, I guess, in this group,” Travis McBride said.

“This is a competition we’re good at every year because we do this every day, and so I think doing this every day gives us that advantage,” Tanner McBride added.

For Begay and Merrit, competing in the veterinary science competition is a career they eventually want to pursue. Competing with other students to be the best helps them advance toward their goals.

When their team was named first place, their classmates and coaches bellowed in excitement.

“I expected no less going into a state that we should this competition, and that’s honestly the perfect boost of confidence going into state to compete at that level,” Tanner said.

“When we got first, it honestly was no surprise, but it showed that all of our hard work paid off, and we’re working well as a team, and we won together,” Begay said.

Another win

Elissa McBride, one of the veterinary science coaches at MVHS, was proud as she took pictures of the students receiving their medals.

“They’ve been working so hard for the last several years. Three of them are seniors, one is a junior, and they have been plucking away at this for years,” McBride said, adding that the students won regionals and Native Skills the last couple of years on top of this year’s win.

While McBride got to see snippets of her students in action, she was one of the tabulators and knew before her students that they had won. She was trying to keep her excitement to herself.

In the moments McBride got to see the students working together, she saw their strengths shine through, and they had weaknesses that needed to be corrected before heading to state.

Between math and parasite identification, McBride saw the students walk in confident but weren’t able to do their best.

However, they made up for it in other areas, and McBride credits their primary coach, Celestine Salt, who works with them constantly after school.

“This is their year to shine,” McBride added.




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